The Detroit Red Wings had many injuries during the 2009-10 season, and players and fans alike believed it was an aberration.
But it looks like history has repeat itself during the 2010-11 campaign.
After starting the season injury free (not including Kris Draper’s Hernia Surgery), the Red Wings started the season with a full lineup. In fact players had to sit out and/or were rotated from game to game.
That all changed, though, during a game at Columbus on November 26th when Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger’s skate accidentally came up and cut Mike Modano’s right wrist. Modano had surgery the next day, and will be out until early March. At first, Modano thought his career was over due to the severity of the cut. Umberger contacted Modano within two days to apologize for the accident even though he was innocent of any blame.
During a home game against Vancouver back in December, Pavel Datsyuk tripped over former teammate Mikael Samuelsson breaking his right hand. Datsyuk plans to return to the team after the All Star break. Shortly after on December 26th at Minnesota a Brad Stuart slap shot hit Dan Cleary in the left ankle. Even though Cleary suffered a broken left ankle, the Wings forward also expects to return after the All-Star break.
The only injury to a Red Wing player caused by a questionable hit was by Tom Kostopoulos of Calgary on Stuart during a game at Calgary nearly a couple of weeks ago. As a result, Stuart suffered a broken jaw and Kostopoulos received a six-game suspension partly due for being a repeat offender. Stuart may be back in action by late February or early March.
During another game at Columbus this past week, foward Tomas Holmstrom fell down during a scrum, and broke his hand. To make matters worse, goaltender Jimmy Howard took a shot off his left knee. Despite some swelling Howard may play again Thursday night in St. Louis.
Fellow Goaltender Chris Osgood underwent hernia surgery last Tuesday and will be out until March. Osgood had the problem since the start of the season. However, Draper started the season with hernia surgery and joined the line up in December and has been a key contributor since returning to the Red Wings’ lineup
Injuries have been a problem throughout the league. With stars like Marian Hossa and Sidney Crosby players missing action due to the speed and physicality of the game and some of the hits delivered.
This issue is not only a big problem for the Red Wings, however. Other players like Patrick Eaves, Darren Helm, Drew Miller, Todd Bertuzzi and Jakub Kindl have stepped up their game and have filled the void (left by the injured players) nicely.
General Manager Ken Holland believes the Red Wings will begin to heal up after Datsyuk and Cleary return. This will be a much needed boost while the team waits for the other players to return.
But despite all the injuries, It seems like the Red Wings haven’t missed a beat, which is just how Holland and company like it in Motown.